The American rapper has proven he can take care of producing and performing (Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Bad Bunny, James Blake among many), but the problem is that he has little to say. “Utopia” tries to be “Yeezus” but lacks Kanye West’s trademark lyrical touches.
WITH Astroworld, a 2018 album, Travis Scott achieved such commercial success that he was able to sell candles, McDonald’s menus, luxury drives, and anything else he wanted to show off while yelling “That’s cool!”. To launch Utopia, he used the same approach, but without much success. However, he is confident that even after the cancellation of his planned exhibition at the Giza Pyramid (the very fact that he was granted permission to exhibit there was surprising in itself: it was not obvious that he would find someone who in a new way will show after the tragedy at the Astroworld festival), next week Utopia he will still reach number one and will do so only thanks to the fandom, winning rap in the eternal struggle that is being consumed in the charts Billboard.
Scott must be given credit: if ever a modern album could elevate an artist to the rank of “brand distributor”, it is Astroworld (with his well-mixed dose of Houston rap and interstellar trap), which, by the way, was a major creative success for him. But let’s face it: Utopia is not on the same level. None of his songs sound as instantaneous and exciting as sick mode or stargazing. Despite the presence of Beyoncé, Bon Iver, Bad Bunny and The Weeknd, there is no candidate to be the song of the summer. K-Pop featuring Bad Bunny and The Weeknd seems like just an attempt to corner the streaming ratings of Bad Bunny fans. However, it’s also true that an artist who doesn’t achieve their best isn’t an automatic sign of failure.
The sound itself makes Utopia a record worth listening to. modern jam it looks like a nod to 80s hip hop, but it’s quite a sophisticated piece rather than a gimmick. Vocal harmonization God’s Country reminiscent of a horror movie in which possessed children roam the outskirts of the city at sunset. Fane this rhythm Playboi Carti can repeat more than 182 times. Lost forever it’s a twisting weave of synth slips and toms that then turns into a cavernous abyss in which Westside Gunn can frolic.
Westside Gunn is an artist who, like Scott, is a prominent figure in the ranks of rap ambassadors. He has stated in the past that he collects albums with the specific intention of highlighting features, comparing himself to an excellent point guard. At this point, if Scott has that mindset, then he deserves a Grammy for the way he does it, because just about every feature on the record outshines it. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t try. God’s Country AND Telekinesis they are solid pieces. IN Hyena AND Love, brings together several rhymes and interesting currents with great dynamics. But there’s not much substance there. This isn’t exactly a new observation against Scott, however, but expecting below average content doesn’t automatically make it immune to criticism; if he didn’t want to be criticized for his gaudy bars, he could just put out compilations like Metro Boomin or DJ Khaled do.
qWhen Scott enters the Topia Twins after his short line, you immediately want to rewind the passage and listen to Rob49 again. When the future Telekinesishe complains because he’s there “doing a lot of drugs alone in the villa / and pounding my dick”, it feels like someone is finally describing true nihilism rich nigga. I know? it’s a classic de rigueur “about a girl in my harem” but there are five artists on the album (Drake, Future, 21 Savage, Young Thug and even The Weeknd) who could have done more.
Scott shows some resourcefulness in many of the third lines and some of the beat changes, including one of the year’s best cycles in the finale. Skitzo, which seems to come from the underworld where Biggie and Tupac fight in the song. But unfortunately, Scott just leaves us there, waiting for the inevitable freestyles we’ll soon hear on the beat, informing us that he “agrees with Ye on Biden.” IN Sirens rhymes with detail, de-vale, he-ail, p-pile, festi-wee-ile, and (more sophisticated?) festi-vi-shilo. It might be a million dollar production, but it’s not fucking worth the same amount of rap.
Utopia on social media, he has been the subject of many comparisons to jesus. Scott spent his formative years in Kanye’s orbit and helped create the concept jesusso much so that you might wonder if it’s worth stopping Utopia To jesus it’s not like comparing Scott’s new record to his old stuff. After all, Kanye’s artistic imprint is evident in Utopia. Lost forever it almost sounds suspiciously like a backing track by Kanye, and the complex sound structure of the album is another obvious similarity. But producers and music lovers are greatly mistaken if they think walls of sound and change of pace are enough to match Kanye’s genius. With the exception of all the justified criticism leveled at Ye in 2023, he has always been a compelling lyricist at his best, whether he’s showing off his stuff, calling himself an insecure and materialistic hypocrite, or talking about dysfunctional relationships. He adorned his songs with flashes of discolored asses, orgies at parties Fashion and offensive orders of croissants. IN New slaves (from jesus), Kanye clearly denounced the atmosphere of 2013 Illuminati hysteria, also pointing out that private prisons and the “new Jim Crow” (referring to the phenomenon of mass incarceration of African Americans, which takes us back to the climate before the 1960s, when the so-called Jim Crow laws on racial segregation were in effect in the United States, approx. ed.) they are terrible for everyone; Travis, for his part, responds to accusations of Satanism with a simple rhyme: “They think I’m a Satan, I consider myself a reverend.” There is no comparison.
The aesthetic side always draws people to a work of art, but its content determines who stays. Utopia this is an event aimed at young fans who just want Scott’s fresh songs to scream during the mosh (in his merch and shoes), but there are other listeners who expect rappers to get something unique instead. That doesn’t mean they have to be lyrical or overly introspective, but they can be direct like Rob49, suspenseful like Young Thug, vulgar like Future, or even just have an interesting way of communicating like Playboi Carti. Instead, all too often in Scott’s music the question arises as to why the producers keep giving this guy songs like this.
In terms of production, Utopia is very complex. It’s like Kanye’s extreme extravagances as well Heroes and villains on Bumin subway. There’s a lot to argue about the number of artists and co-producers on an album, but if we can sit down for TV awards by watching those aquariums full of celebrities in hopes of pulling one meme out of ourselves, we certainly can’t complain when these people are all get together and do their thing. It’s no surprise that Scott has relationships with LeBron James and Kevin Durant: he knows how to move in a recording studio like a quarterback on an NBA team. But the reality is that Scott, despite being a very good curator, is quite a decent rapper. And these two facts collide too often in Utopia.
Translation from Rolling Stone USA.